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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

G cover

Do you really need a knee replacement?

“Decision aids” help patients weigh pros and cons

When James Jacobsen saw the X-ray images of the worn cartilage in his knees, he understood why his right knee had been causing him pain.

“The X-rays showed bone on bone,” he said. His doctor referred him to an orthopedic specialist, and Jacobsen assumed the worst: That he’d have to get a knee replacement.

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